The Babburkamme (alternate spellings: "Bobburukamme", "Babboor Kamme") community is a caste of Smarta Brahmins whose members mainly reside in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu states in India. There also exist sizeable populations of the community in other countries like USA, Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand.
Babburkammes are followers of the Smarta tradition (see Smartism). Smarta is derived from 'Smrithi', a Sanskrit word with the meaning of "one who remembers or reveres their teacher/Guru". Smarta tradition is closely associated with the Advaita tradition of Sri Adi Shankaracharya. Kamme is derived from 'Karmin' meaning those who practice "Vaidhika Dharma".
The Kamme community is as old as 800 AD. The place of origin of Babburkammes is unclear, although most accounts believe that they migrated from the village of Babbur in Andhra Pradesh, close to Orissa. Another version is they have migrated from place called 'Barbara' in central province of India. Another version has it that a small group migrated from the central provinces, following the path set by Babar on one of his incursions, and the name is hence derived. According to one published source, the Kamme community migrated south through Andhra Pradesh over a long period, where one part of the community settled. Today they are known as "Uluchu Kamme" with Telugu as their mother tongue. The other part of the community further migrated through Vijayanagara Kingdom towards Southern Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
It appears that the principal profession was priesthood, and the migration pattern reflects the various Hindu kingdoms and economic centres of their times. Over the last 100 years, the local migration appears to be from small-towns to Mysore and Bangalore, and in recent years to other parts of the world. This trend seems to be coherent with migration patterns of other service-providing communities in the region.
Babburkammes are largely spread in Holenarasipura, Konanur, Arkalgud, Bellur, Kanakatte, Mirle, Arasikere, Belavadi, Mayasandra, Bettadapura, Davanagere, Shivamogga, Hassan, Chikkamagaluru and Bhadravati towns in Karnataka state and Coimbatore & Salem in Tamil Nadu. Community sanghas are spread across Karnataka state in places like Bangalore, Mysore, Davanagere and Shivamogga. Each family has a hometown that is generally added to the name, for e.g. Prakash Belawadi.
Babburkammes place strong emphasis on education that applies to both men and women (a saying in Kannada emphasizes this: "Kamme andre Hemme" - translating to "Kamme means Pride").
Due to their history, most people in the community do not have significant ancestral land or other fixed assets (unlike the business or warrior communities, for example) and therefore formal education is seen as a pathway to success. In addition, and perhaps as a result of advanced education, the community is quite progressive in its outlook. In tradition of marriage, dowry is a concept not practiced or not even recognized.
Babburkammes are Brahmins by caste, and follow the Smarta Advaita Vedanta philosophy of Adi Shankaracharya. Most Babburkammes are followers of the Sringeri Shankaracharya Peetha established by Shankara.
Depending on the tradition of the family, there is a specific form of God that is revered known as Ishta Deva (Family Deity). The main deity of Babburkammes is dependent on the family deity or Ishta-deva. These deities can be Shiva-Shakti ,Banashankari, Laxmi-Narayan. However, being followers of Advaita Smartism, Babburkammes worship all the major forms of God including, Shiva, Vishnu, Ganesha, Gowri, Saraswati, Laxmi, Durga, and Karthikeya.
Many great rulers, thinkers, poets, lawyers, doctors, teachers and sportsmen are from Babburkamme community. The earliest evidence of a Babbur Kamme personality comes from Vasubhaga Bhatta (8th Century AD ) who is the author of a version of the Sanskrit stories "Panchatantra", whose popularity spreads across the Southern hemisphere including Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia etc. Vasubhaga Bhatta proudly calls himself a "Bobbooru Kamme Brahmin" (this is documented by Durgasimhain 12th century AD in his work "Karnataka Pancha tantram").
It is recorded that the great saint Basaveshwara (Founder of Lingayat community) was from this community. Another Poet Kempoonarayana (who wrote Mudra Manjusha in Kannada) is also believed to be from this community.
The founder of the Vijayanagara empire, Shankaracharya Sri Vidyaranya belonged to this community. It is also believed that he brought many brahmins from his community to settle in Karnataka. Later his brothers Madhavacharya and Sayanacharya have contributed to Indian spiritualogy by documenting the entire Vedas & Upanishads for the first time (hitherto it was spread from guru to shisya by memorizing ). Max Mueller and Swami Vivekananda have applauded the efforts of Sayanacharya in preserving the great heritage of Sanathana Dharma.
Babburkammes are known for their literary abilities. The community boasts of a number of eminent writers:
Triveni, Aryambha Pattabhi, Vani, M.K. Indira, Mangala Satyan, Vishalakshi Dakshina Murthy are few of the popular women novelists of the community.
Mahesh - Flautist, singer and music composer
B.K.Chandramouli - Mridangist
B.C.Manjunath - Percussionist
Bellur sisters (carnatic)
The eminent civil Engineer B.S. Nanjappa (Bhagirath Construction Company), who constructed the Bangalore Airport and the M.S. Ramaiah Medical College Hospital is also from this community. There have been numerous scientists and professors of repute from this community. Some of the prominent scientists in IISc, Bangalore, and IITs and IIMs are from this community. G.R Nagabhushana, leading scientist in high voltage engineering at an international level, national awardee and a defense scientist is a good example. Dr. Bala Kumble - IIT (Madras) Graduate and Founder of AZURN, Australia is also from this Community.
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